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Sex crimes are a serious and sensitive subject that can have far-reaching consequences. These offenses encompass a range of actions that involve non-consensual sexual activity, exploitation, and abuse.

Understanding the different types of sex crimes is crucial for raising awareness, promoting education, and advocating for prevention and justice in these cases. In this blog, our sex crimes lawyers will delve into nine common types of sex crimes we encounter, shedding light on their definitions, implications, and legal aspects.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault encompasses a wide range of non-consensual sexual acts infringing on a person’s autonomy. Consent is crucial, and violating someone’s boundaries is a criminal offense. There are many types of sexual assault involving unwanted sexual contact or behavior.

Examples of sexual assault include physical sexual assault, which involves force or violence to coerce a victim into non-consensual sexual activity. It can also involve verbal sexual assault, which involves using explicit language to intimidate or degrade a person sexually.


Rape is a crime that revolves around the non-consensual penetration of an individual, whether a minor or adult, by a stranger or someone the victim knows. Beyond its physical nature, rape inflicts deep emotional and psychological wounds, often leading to lifelong trauma.

The laws governing rape differ across jurisdictions, but they all share a common emphasis on seeking justice for victims and holding perpetrators accountable. Two types of rape that fall under this broader category include statutory and marital rape.

Statutory Rape

Statutory rape refers to engaging in sexual activity with someone below the legal age of consent, which is 16 in Minnesota. Even if the minor may appear to consent, their age renders them incapable of providing informed and lawful consent. This legal concept prioritizes the protection of minors from potential exploitation and manipulation by older individuals.

Marital Rape

Marital rape involves the violation of a person’s bodily autonomy by their spouse without their consent. This form of sexual assault highlights the importance of recognizing that marriage doesn’t grant implicit consent for sexual activity. Marital rape underscores the significance of upholding the right to personal autonomy and bodily integrity within the context of any relationship.

Child Pornography

Child pornography is exploitation that involves the production, distribution, or possession of sexually explicit content featuring minors. It perpetuates the abuse of children and contributes to their lifelong emotional and psychological harm. Legal systems universally condemn and criminalize child pornography to protect the well-being of minors and prevent the perpetuation of these traumatic acts.

Online Sexual Exploitation

The digital era has given rise to online sexual exploitation, where predators manipulate and coerce individuals into sharing explicit content, often under duress or deceit. Combating online sexual exploitation requires collaboration between law enforcement, technology companies, and society.


Sexting involves the exchange of explicit content through digital platforms. While it can be consensual among adults, it raises complex legal concerns when minors are involved. Understanding the legal boundaries surrounding sexting is essential to avoid potential legal repercussions, especially given the potential for distributing explicit content without consent.

Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking is a violation of human rights, involving the coerced involvement of individuals in commercial sex activities against their will. It involves tactics like deception, abduction, threats, or abuse of power, to control and exploit victims, often leading to their physical, emotional, and psychological suffering. Victims of sex trafficking can be of any age, gender, or background and are subjected to a life of exploitation, frequently enduring abusive and hazardous conditions.

Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure refers to publicly revealing one’s private body parts. Although seemingly less severe than other crimes, it can still psychologically affect witnesses and create feelings of discomfort and violation. Laws against indecent exposure exist to maintain public decency and protect individuals from unwanted exposure.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, comments, or behavior infringing on an individual’s dignity. It is a pervasive issue that can happen in various settings, from workplaces to schools, and can result in emotional distress and damage an individual’s well-being.

Prostitution and Solicitation

Prostitution involves exchanging sexual services for money, and its legality varies widely across jurisdictions. Soliciting sex for money is often subject to legal consequences, as it can exploit vulnerable individuals and perpetuate a cycle of harm. The nuances surrounding prostitution laws reflect society’s complex considerations of personal autonomy, public safety, and exploitation prevention.

What are the Penalties for Sex Crimes?

Under Minnesota law, criminal sexual conduct is categorized into five degrees, each carrying varying penalties based on the severity of the offense. The degrees range from first-degree to fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, with the highest penalties for first-degree and the lowest for fifth-degree.

  • First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct: This category involves sexual penetration or specific sexual contact with a victim under 13. The maximum penalty is 30 years of imprisonment and a $40,000 fine. The presumptive sentencing guideline is 144 months in prison.
  • Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct: Second-degree criminal sexual conduct covers sexual contact. Offenses in this degree are punishable by up to 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine. The presumptive sentencing guideline is 90 months in prison, depending on factors like force or threat.
  • Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct: Third-degree criminal sexual conduct pertains to sexual penetration. The maximum penalty is 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. The presumptive sentencing guideline is 48 months in prison.
  • Fourth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct: Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involves sexual contact. Offenses in this category can lead to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The presumptive sentencing guideline is 24 months in prison.
  • Fifth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct: Fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct covers sexual contact or certain lewd conduct. It is a gross misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $3,000 fine. In some cases, certain repeat violations can be punished by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

It’s important to note that these penalties can vary based on factors such as the nature of the offense, the age of the victim, the use of force or violence, and the specific circumstances surrounding the incident.

Contact Martine Law: Your Criminal Defense Partner

If you or someone you know is facing legal issues related to sex crimes, don’t hesitate to contact Martine Law. Our criminal defense attorneys are here to provide guidance, support, and representation. Your rights and well-being matter to us. Contact us today for a consultation.